Man vs Machine

‘Can you photocopy this for me?’ Colleague No1 asked me this afternoon.

‘Sure. No problem.’ I said.

Do it yourself, I thought, but I’d been learning the ropes for my new job today, whilst still overseeing the newbies in my old post, so it was nice to have something to do that was neither completely new to be nor sorting out a sticky problem.


The photocopier had other ideas.

I pressed the appropriate settings, hit the big green button and…BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

The screen displayed a message so cryptic we possibly needed the Enigma machine to sort it out. The only thing that was clear was that it wasn’t copying.

We tried again, double-checking the settings.


My new boss (aka Colleague No2) walked by, clearly thinking I’m some sort of ignorant muppet and wondering why the hell they’d poached me from the dark side. A morning of stupid questions and now she can’t work the copier, I could literally hear him think.

He hit the same arrangement of buttons as I had, both myself and Colleague No1 looking over his shoulder.

If it works this time then I’m going to look beyond stupid and the next they’ll be copying is my P45.

The machine beeped again and threw up the same message.

‘What the fuck’s that meant to mean?’ he swore.

Another three attempts, three more alerts, three more messages. Still no photocopy. Colleague No3 walks by.

And she had no luck either.

At this point I was acutely aware that four of us were gathered around a single photocopier attempting to get a copy of a book cover.

I decided to sit back down when New Boss No2 (aka Colleague No4 joined the fray).


Five minutes later (which translates to about 7 years in photocopying terms) the issue was resolved. The scanner had been locked, apparently. Why it didn’t say ‘Scanner locked – press buttons X Y and Z’ I don’t know. I suppose Tech Support need a reason to exist.

But at least I didn’t feel like such a muppet for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe the photocopier was doing me a favour?

Hopefully, when the machines rise against man, they’ll remember me as having the sense to step away. If I leave them alone maybe they’ll bypass me too.

In the meantime just don’t ask me to do any photocopying for you.


10 thoughts on “Man vs Machine”

  1. The Scanner was locked? And you think it should have just told you to press buttons X, Y & Z? And I’m wondering why someone didn’t just look for the key under the front mat?

    This was so rich with truth and humor! I am making a mental note to photocopy my smiles so when I’m feeling blah, I can just reproduce them!

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